2015 Women’s World Cup: Group E Contenders

7 Jun

052115-soccer-Group-E-split-pi-mp.vadapt.955.high.0I was a bit stumped on how to characterize this group for a long time. Then it hit me. This is the group ‘punching at their own weight’. None of these teams have much diversity in terms of having game-changing options B through Z if needed. They stick wholeheartedly to their winning formulas because, well, they win. Here’s the problem though. For this WWC, Spain, Costa Rica, Korea, and especially Brazil are going to need to punch above their weight. They’re going to have to figure out how to kick the shit out of an option B when option A is not going to happen. And there is a good probability that, at some point, it isn’t.

Group Location
The group is based out of Montreal for the first two group matches. Two teams then head to Ottawa and the other two head to Moncton for their last group stage match. All matches will take place at Olympic Stadium, which has a seating capacity of around 66,000.

imagesHere are some facts about Montreal:

  • It is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, and is the only city in North America where French is the majority language.
  • Montreal is on an island and is linked to the mainland by a tunnel and 15 bridges.
  • John Lennon wrote “Give Peace a Chance” in Montreal during his ‘bed-in’ at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in 1969.
  • The Underground City, a series of interconnected tunnels beneath Montreal, runs for over 32 kms (20 miles).

1624451_full-lndTeam Brazil

Watching Brazil this summer may turn out to be a redux of last year’s Men’s World Cup. All the same team characteristics exist: the quick passing, the fleet-of-foot attack, the swiss cheese-esque defense. They’ll be fun to watch but can they hold up as the tournament progresses? Marta, easily the most recognizable female footballer in the world, and fellow veteran Cristiane (one of my faves!) have the attack solidly in place. If the team stumbles here, it likely will be because of the other end of the field and its lack of, umm, similar ‘cohesion’.

FIFA ranking: 7th
Best ever finish: Runners-up, 2007

Strength(s): goals, goals, and more goals
Weakness(es): consistency

International power player: Marta, forward
Player(s) to watch: Andressa, forward

Coach: Oswaldo “Vadao” Alvarez
Team nickname: A Seleção
Follow on Twitter: @CBF_Futebol

CGwbFAeW0AI5LS5Team Costa Rica

If we’ve learned anything about Costa Rica and World Cups, it’s to not count them out. Costa Rica were the first Central American team to qualify for this year’s WWC, and they did it in Costa Rican-style via a penalty shoot-out vs Trinidad and Tobago. Veteran Shirley Cruz may not be a household name (yet) but she played key roles in Olympique Lyonnaise’s Champions League double and PSG’s runner-up UCL placement this year. Teams are going to have to contain her if they don’t want to see Costa Rica walk away with valuable points and a place in the round of 16.

FIFA ranking: 37th
Best ever finish: 2015 is their first appearance at WWC

Strength(s): high tempo attack
Weakness(es): defensively poor

International power player: Shirley Cruz, forward
Player(s) to watch: Gloriana Villalobos, midfielder

Coach: Amelia Valverde
Team nickname: Las Ticas
Follow on Twitter: @FEDEFUTBOL_CR

CGvzmuTVAAEWSYgTeam Korea Republic

Korea have been off the WWC stage since 2003, their last and only previous participation. It’s been a slow, build-from-the-back process for the team. Some analysts are saying this process positions them well to be a dark horse here. Okay. Sadly, they are without one of their top-scorers in Yeo Min-Ji. This means the attack will rest largely with Ji So-Yun, the 4x Korean Player of the Year, the 2014 FA Women Super League Player of the Year, and the 2014-15 PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year. Yeah, I feel really sorry for them too. The team has persevered well thus far in getting to Canada; let’s see if their drive holds and is able to push them past the group stage.

Fun fact: Jil So-Yun has been dubbed “The Korean Messi”, presumably not because she also has a collection of ill-conceived tattoos.

FIFA ranking: 18th
Best ever finish: Group Stage (4th), 2003

Strength(s): ambition and a disciplined attack
Weakness(es): inexperienced team

International power player: Jil So-Yun, forward
Player(s) to watch: Lee So-Dam, midfielder

Coach: Yoon Deok-Yeo
Team nickname: Taegeuk Nangja, or Taegeuk Ladies
Follow on Twitter: @TheKFA

CGtrql9UIAEzQy2Team Spain

Tiki taki is dead! Long live tiki taki! The Spain went through their qualification run unbeaten, scoring 42 goals and conceding just two. Pristine. Star Veronica Boquete is coming to the tournament fresh off a Champions League victory with FFC Frankfurt and a new contract with Bayern Munich (player poaching really is a hobby at that club). Champion. Head coach Ignacio Quereda has been with the team for almost 30 years now, and he’s finally got a team which looks and works like no other in this tournament. Maturity. A few people I’ve talked to don’t even rate Spain as having a chance. I resoundingly disagree.

Fun fact: Koke, Juan Bernat, David Silva, Jordi Alba and Vitolo participated in a Twitter and YouTube to help launch the women’s World Cup jersey.

Fun fact #2: We have Boquete to thank for the inclusion of female footballers in FIFA 16. She initiated the campaign back in 2013 via Change.org to lobby Electronic Arts for the revision to their best-selling game.

FIFA ranking: 14th
Best ever finish: 2015 is their first appearance at the WWC

Strength(s): technically superior to almost every other team here
Weakness(es): lack physicality and have no real option B if the passing game doesn’t work

International power player: Veronica Boquete, forward
Player(s) to watch: Jennifer Hermoso, midfielder

Coach: Ignacio Quereda (for almost 30 years!)
Team nickname: La Roja
Follow on Twitter: @SeFutbol

CGtzRd6WgAAac91Matches

June 9: Spain vs Costa Rica and Brazil vs Korea Republic
June 13: Brazil vs Spain and Costa Rica vs Korea Republic
June 17: Korea Republic vs Spain and Brazil vs Costa Rica

– hopechasers

3 Responses to “2015 Women’s World Cup: Group E Contenders”

  1. Mandy June 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    So during fall/winter games I play the Santa Hat game for women’s matches -If you’re unfamiliar with the game: simply you put a Santa hat on the corner of your TV and every time one of the girls wears it you take a drink-. I said to myself, for this summer’s cup every time Marta takes a dive I’m going to drink. I think I might expand it to all the forwards/strikers in this group. I think I’ll characterize it as the “Swim Group”. Not just because we’ll probably see the most dives from this group. But also because getting out of this group is going to be a tough feat. It’s going to be a “Sink or Swim”. Either this group will decide itself early on or go to the last second of the last match. Either way, I’m excited.

  2. mygypsyspirit June 9, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    I think people don’t rate Spain because they’ve never qualified for a World Cup. BUT they went undefeated through qualifying (they won 9 of 10) so I feel like maybe they could be the “darkhorse”.

    As for Brazil, I also love Cristiane! Marta is exceptional but there’s something about her that rubs me the wrong way. I’ve seen them play a number of times (as I have the men) and she just has never won me over.

    • hopechaser June 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

      Yeah, Cristiane! I mention her to people and I get blank stares. The problem of staying in Brazil rather than globe-trotting I guess.

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